Archive for the ‘Contest Promos’ Category

This past year, I helped organize a Car Giveaway promotion, that ended up being awesome.  A local car dealership announced they wanted to do a car giveaway, and wanted a radio partner to give one a way, and a TV partner to give the other away.  I cooked up an idea that they really liked, and our station became the partner.

The concept is fairly simple, but there were a lot of moving elements.  The client was a Mitsubishi dealership, and one of the models they were pushing as the “Lancer”.  One of our hot shows at the moment was season 1 of The Flash.  We got permission to wrap a Lancer with Flash creative, and essentially make it a moving billboard (we had to have the show’s logo, our station logo and the time you could watch it on the wrap).  We wanted the design of the wrap to be something a fan of the show would love to have on their car.

Flash Lancer

We called it, the “Flash Lancer” (get it?  Flash Dancer?  maybe to ’80s of a reference).

This promotion was kind of a “summer promotion”.  It kicked off in May and we would have it parked at several pre-established station promotions and car dealership promotions throughout the summer and tell our viewers to come out to these events and register to win the car in person.  I was also able to get it parked at several other “unplanned” events as well.

Viewers could always enter online, or go down to the dealership to enter as well.

At the end of each of the planned events, we would pick a finalist (which encouraged people to go to those specific events.  In the end there would be 5 finalists, 4 of them from events, and 1 from the internet.Car Locations

We would give the car away to one of those 5 finalists on-the-air during the season premiere of The Flash in early October.

The FlashThe even kicked off with the car making an appearance at Wizard World Comic Con at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  But we were also given the opportunity to drive it into the Mall of America‘s Rotunda for a “Kick off the Con” event the night before.

At the Wizard World Comic Con, we encouraged people to get a picture of the car with them in it and use the hashtag #RBmitsuFlashLancer to get free Flash Swag.  You can find the Twitter feed of those hashtags here.

At most of these events, we had a local cosplay person dress up in a custom made “Flash” costume to greet the fans of the show.

One of the pre-planned events included two “Test Drive” events, where we encouraged viewers to come down to the dealership and test drive any car (including the Flash Lancer) get entered to win the car, and get free Flash swag, as well as ending up in a TV commercial

After the Test Drive Events were over, we would air a commercial that “thanked” everybody for coming out to the event.  Of course, we also posted these on Social Media, and tagged everybody, including the client.  That made sure this promotion was sure to be seen by even more people.

At the end of the Summer, we gather all 5 finalists and shot some video with them, and went over the rules for the final event.  We then aired this promo leading up to the announcement.

The final event went very well.  It wasn’t live, but it was shot a few hours before it aired.  We were able to squeeze it in just before the Season premiere started during the end break of the access show.  Local inventory was tight during the premiere.

This ended up being a really good promotion for the station, and the client loved it and they hope to do another one of these with us.  Maybe a Supergirl Car?  They ended up cutting the radio car giveaway short, and loved ours because “it had legs” and gave them almost 6 months of promotional exposure.

One of the neat things that happened after the promotion was over that put a nice neat little bow on it was what the winner did with his car.  He registered himself as a Uber Driver, and gave himself a Twitter Handle.  Now he drives the car around town as a taxi service, and continues to promote the show.  Sweet!

There are many more details to this promotion I didn’t go into here.  But if you want to see the presentation or know more about it, just let me know.





Game App

Posted: June 1, 2014 in Contest Promos, Video Samples

The parent company of the TV station I worked at in Springfield, Missouri had a lot of other projects going on.  One of them was an interactive game app.  The concept is pretty neat.  I think this concept has real potential.  But as of right now, it hasn’t launched yet.  Any day now.  Below are a few of the on-air elements we created to promote this app that will hit the air as soon as we are given the “go”.

This one is scheduled to hit the air 10 days before the interactive game show hits the air.  Encouraging people to download the app and get ready.


This one is designed to air just before the show airs, so that people can get their apps open and ready to play along:


This app was going to be used with the syndicated game show, Cash Cab.  But we also produced a test Game Show pilot for it as well.

Since you don’t really need to have a promotion to get people to watch The Super Bowl, we still didn’t want the opportunity of having a Super Bowl on our station slip away.  We wanted to do two things here: 1) We wanted people to turn on the station earlier in the day and keep us on for all of Super Bowl Sunday.    2)  Since this would be the day that we would potentially have the most eyes on our screen, we wanted to do something big that would translate that into “likes” on our Facebook page and get these people into our database.

So we came up with a contest that would be fairly simple.  We would giveaway iPad minis every hour leading up to the game.  The viewers had to look for the secret word and enter it online.  To cut through the clutter, we decided to put 3 of our on-air personalities into a setting that most of the viewers would be in…gathered in front of the TV getting ready to watch the game.  Another element of the contest we thought made it kind of fun was something that came up in the planning stages.

As you probably know, there are many restrictions on what clients can be tied into the game and how it’s mentioned…even for stations airing the game.  For example, iPad is not an official Super Bowl sponsor.  Even though this contest was for our station and it wasn’t during The Super Bowl, we were told we couldn’t say the words “Super Bowl” when talking about this contest.  Then we were told it would probably be a good idea not to mention the world “iPad” either.  So how do you cut a promo telling people they can win a cool prize without mentioning the prize?  And how do you tell people when to watch if you can’t mention the specific game?  You call it “The Big Game Mini-Tablet Sweepstakes” and poke fun of the fact you can’t mention these things.  The result were this series of promos and on-air segments:

This Sunday version:


Tomorrow version:

When it came time for the contest to begin, we continued to feature the 3 on-air personalities getting ready to watch the game.  During each segment that popped up, we pretended to catch them off-guard talking about the station or one of the shows (our way of sneaking another message about the station into the mix).  We also continued to poke fun of the fact we couldn’t mention “Super Bowl” or “iPad”.  And used secret words that had some tie to those words.  Some of these are telling people that the “secret word” is coming.  And others are revealing what that “secret word” is:

Hour One:




Hour Two:




Hour Three:



Hour Four:


Hour Five:


Hour Six:



We also bought online ads to support the contest that would appear in our demo


600 x 225 Banner Sunday








728 x 90 Banner Today

336 x 280 Banner Today

160 x 600 Banner Today

This promotion was something I’ve done in three of my markets and it worked every time rather well.  In fact, both Fox and the CW had our station present this idea to other affiliates as a model idea.

This video was produced for the CW Apex Awards to help show off the concept:

Like it said in the video,  I found that it works best to give away free food.  That’s when we get the bigger response.  Free food appeals to everybody.  But almost every time I’ve done this, Sales does try to sneak a random client that isn’t giving away free food (Pole Dancer Work Out Class, Animal Petting Farm, etc).  There is absolutely no tie to the show, and the sales person will always swear it will do well…and it doesn’t.  So far, just free food works.  Maybe if something cool tied into the show that’s being previewed, or the demo of the audience for the show, but I’m hear to tell you…it’s free food that works on this one.

This was a fun contest I did a few years back that would still work today with the right prizing and tie it into Family Feud.  The questions all came from the home version of the game.  The initial idea was to create something local that locals could participate in but be tied to our national show.  Make it fun.  Who doesn’t want to play Family Feud on TV for big prizes?

As a Sweeps Stunt, we were trying to grow our access block and decided to give away iphones and Visa Gift Cards.  But this could easily be turned into a client for an added value promotion for additional prizes (Hardee’s food vouchers, tickets to the zoo, etc).  This was a month long promotion.  We would pre-shoot a bunch of contestants playing the game and edit the best ones.

On the air, each week, we would schedule 9 videos of people who played but didn’t win the grand prize, and then we would also play 1 video of a person that did.

The first stage was to recruit contestants:

Once a week, we would set aside some time to shoot a bunch of them.  We would mainly keep going until we got a winner.  We would usually have enough videos of other contestants who didn’t win to fill in the rest of the on-air slots.  But just in case, we were prepared to give away a two iPhones each of those days.

Here is a person that didn’t win the iPhone but got enough answers to get a cash prize:


And here are a couple people that didn’t get enough answers:


Nielsen DiaryThis promotion worked great each time I did it, and you will see it in a variety of forms below.  The idea is simple.  Tell our viewers to memorize our line-up, because we are going to randomly start asking people what it is.  If you know it,  you get a prize.   Then we show the results on the air…including both the people that got it right, and the people that also got it wrong.  The spots were constantly updated to keep it fresh.

Not only was it fun to watch on the air (almost a mini-game show), but it truly did get people to memorize the lineup.   That of course helps, when you want people to watch.  But also helps when people fill out the Nielsen Diaries and need to remember what the line up was.

The first time I did it was at a station in Dayton, Ohio, and we had just changed up the comedy line-up and wanted people to remember it.  After we ran a “Call to Action” promo explaining the concept for a week, we hit the air with one spot that was filled with people who didn’t know the lineup, and our voice guy mocking them for not knowing…

Then we also had one spot where there was at least one winner.  Keep in mind, these are all real.  We didn’t plant any winners.

In Albuquerque, I tried it again.  This time, I changed up the prize.  DVD players weren’t considered a “nifty gift” anymore.  And the station was on channel 50.  So we went with $50 cash.  The promo below is a “call to action” promo asking our viewers to memorize our court show block…

And here is the “loser promo”…

And here is the “winner promo”…

I can’t stress enough that the promos need to be refreshed.   Just block off a time once a week for the crew to go out and do it.  Here are some tips.  Do it at lunch time.  That’s when people are more relaxed and willing to participate.  Or if there is a chance to do it at a Festival or Fair, people are really willing to be on.  Malls are good (but get permission first).   University Campuses and parks are also good.   We also found out that people are much more willing to respond to a female approaching them with the microphone.

Later on in both Albuquerque & Springfield, I used one of the station’s on-air personalities to start doing it. Here is one of the call to action promos…


Here are a few examples on how it worked with the on-air personality:





Later we did a funny set with Jerry Springer, who was in town hosting a live version of “The Price is Right” for a week, and he helped us Ambush the staff of the show:



The other thing to note, it always started off slow and it was hard to find people who would get it right…until about the 3rd or fourth week.  Then people saw our crew drive up and park, and the viewers would start ambushing our crew, telling them they had the lineup memorized and they wanted their $50, they were ready to go…even when we were shooting something else.

After the Ambush had reached the stage of us finding too many people who already know the lineup and it was difficult to find people who didn’t (yeah, I know…what a bad problem, right?), then we switched the question up more often.  We targeted show premieres.  AND, we started opening up to our clients.  In this case, we sold the promotion to KFC…and tied it to the premiere of a show called Blue Collar TV.  The prize was of course changed to free food from KFC.

The client loved it.  They even let us ambush people at the drive-thru window.

I think these cut through the clutter, because of the way the on-air personality mocked people for not being prepared if they didn’t know the answer.  It was all done in fun and as you can see, the people did sign a release to appear on TV, so they weren’t scarred to badly.

Below is a set that involved a client.   In this case, there was no tie-in to a TV show, which I was iffy about.  But it was kind of our staple promotion and something the other stations couldn’t offer up as an added-value promotion to their clients.  We proposed this one to Papa John’s.  They were asking us for a promotion that would help people get the Papa John’s ap installed on their mobile devices…

Here were the losers…

This one had a winner…

Again, the client was happy with the results.  It made for fun TV that enhanced the viewing experience for our viewers.  So I liked it too and highly recommend it.

Obviously I wasn’t the first person to have a TV crew “ambush” people on the streets with questions or anything, but it’s still a fun idea.  I haven’t really seen anybody else do a local TV promotion like this.   But more recently I’ve seen some shows that are VERY similar to this exact concept.   Last year, a new e/i show premiered called On the Spot, where the host ambushes people on the street with questions everybody should know the answer to.  Also this past year, a guy who was doing his own funny ambushes on YouTube, got his own show on cable called Billy On The Street, who at times, also gives out prizes ($1) to people who know the answers.

It’s a fun idea.